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99% DRUG USERS SEEKING TREATMENT ARE MALES AND UNDER 30 YEARS: STUDY.

Of the total patients seeking rehabilitation therapy for substance abuse in Oman, 99 per cent are males and under 30 years.

This was found in a study published in the Public Library of Science (PLOS One) titled 'The characteristics and patterns of utilization of healthcare services among Omanis with substance use disorders attending therapy for cessation'.

According to Dr Nabila al Wahaibi, the principal author of the study, among the patients seeking cessation therapy peer influences on the initiation of substance use were significant. 'Most patients had a history of polysubstance use, including intravenous substance use. Cannabis and alcohol were the first substances consumed by most patients,' she said.

The study was conducted by a group of researchers from the College of Medicine and Health Sciences at the Sultan Qaboos University (SQU) and the Ministry of Health.

The cross-sectional study was conducted in a tertiary care centre (Al Masarra Hospital) which specialises in the treatment of those engaging in substance use. The participants were selected from a sample of patients seeking consultation at the centre for alcohol and substance use. The research team that contributed to this work include Dr Nabila, Dr Anwaar al Lawati, Falaah al Ruqeishy, Abdulla al Khatri, Yahya al Farsi, Tahira MA Juma, Fatma al Hinai, Dr Nasser al Sibani, Sangeetha Mahadevan and Samir al Adawi.

A six-part questionnaire was designed to obtain information regarding socio-demographic background, clinical history, healthcare utilisation and perceived hurdles to access.

The study explored the socio-demographic factors, factors related to the initiation of substance use, types of substances used, co-morbid health and psychiatric conditions, healthcare utilisation and hurdles to accessing healthcare among people who use psychoactive substances in a treatment facility. Despite the availability of most common compounds used for cessation treatment, for alcohol and psychoactive substance in the region, relapses are common. Dr Sibani, senior consultant at the Department of Behavioural Medicine, SQU said, 'This study clearly indicates that people who have abused cannabis and benzodiazepines have better outcomes compared to those who were abusing heroin.'

According to Dr Anwaar males below 30 years were more prone to drug addiction. She added that in this study, most patients engaged in polysubstance use. Data from the World Health Organization shows the prevalence of substance use in the Eastern Mediterranean region (which includes Oman) to be 3,500/100,000 while the prevalence of intravenous substance use disorders is at 172/100,000.

According to the 2017 report of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, the prevalence of injecting psychoactive substances has been estimated at 0.2 per cent of the population in the region defined as 'Near and the Middle East' (which includes Oman). In the present study, approximately 67 per cent of the participants admitted to having used intravenous substances.

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Publication:Muscat Daily (Muscat, Oman)
Geographic Code:7OMAN
Date:Feb 4, 2019
Words:512
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